Demetrious Johnson was stopped due to strikes for the first time in his career last night by Adriano Moraes at ONE FC’s first show live on U.S TV via the TNT network.
Johnson had fought his way to last night’s flyweight title fight against Moraes in the ONE FC promotion by winning their 115lb grand-prix after being released by the UFC in a swap deal for Ben Askren in 2018.
Having only lost once in his last seventeen fights spanning over eight years, the 34-year-old ‘Mighty Mouse’ was understandably a firm favorite to emerge victorious against the multiple time ONE FC flyweight champion Moraes, but his counterpart had a very solid 18-3 career record heading into this one and also a major 5″ height and large reach advantage to work with.
As it turned out the size factor was a real problem for Johnson and it cost him dearly in the second round as he started to become more aggressive at pressing into range, only to be caught with a clean uppercut from Moraes that floored him.
As Johnson tried to scramble back to his feet, Moraes then caught him with a knee strike to the head that resulted in the KO finish at 2.24mins of the second round.
The finish was ironic as unlike the UFC, in ONE FC knees to the head of a grounded opponent are legal, and just a month ago Johnson had spoke out in favor of that ruling.
“Heres the thing you cant stall the fight by sitting on your knees,” Johnson had wrote. “Knees to a grounded opponent should be allowed!”
In a way those words have now come back to haunt him (though in this instance he wasn’t attempting to stall the fight), but nonetheless Johnson was gracious after his rare taste of defeat.
“I’m going to have to go back home after the fight and see where I made a mistake,” Johnson said in his post-fight interview. “Adriano’s big, and I was trying to get to him. But it’s part of the game, man. You’re in this game for so long, and it’s bound to happen one of these days, right?…Congrats to Adriano Moraes. He’s a great champion and a great dude.”
There was another upset on the ONE FC main card as Eddie Alvarez quickly got Iuri Lapicus to the mat in the opening minute and began landing ground and pound, only for a few punches to stray to the back of the head, leading to a referee disqualification just 62 seconds into the fight.
Check out all the ONe On TNT results below.
ONE On TNT MMA Results:
Adriano Moraes def. Demetrious Johnson via knockout (punches, knee) – Round 2, 2:24
Iuri Lapicus def. Eddie Alvarez via disqualification (illegal punches) – Round 1, 1:02
Raimond Magomedaliev def. Tyler McGuire via unanimous decision – Round 3, 5:00
Oumar Kane def. Patrick Schmid via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 1:48